The host of Al Jazeera English's UpFront, Mehdi Hasan, made news earlier this month when, during an interview with Blackwater founder (and brother of Trump Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos), Erik Prince, Prince basically admitted to lying to Congress over a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.
Hasan was rightfully lauded as an example for western journalists, who, far too often, give those in positions of power like Prince a pass, rather than doing their homework and asking tough follow up questions as we saw Hasan do during the Prince interview.
MSNBC's Joy-Ann Reid brought Hasan on to discuss the recent massacre in New Zealand this Sunday and the current political climate which is tragically being fostered by “the world's most prominent Islamaphobe” Donald Trump.
As Hasan noted, “it is easy to condemn the far right nut case,” but dealing with the “soil and what's been created, the culture of demonization, of fear, of incitement from main stream columnists, pundits, TV hosts, and politicians” is another matter entirely.
After Reid showed some sets of headlines contrasting the disparity in the way white terrorists are treated in the media compared to Islamic terrorists, Hasan hit the problem on the head here:
HASAN: There's Islamophobia there. There is white privilege there. Yes, ISIS killers don't get to be angelic boys, even though we assume some of them may have been angelic boys before they became killers. There is always this case of the white mass shooter, was always, was he mentally ill, deranged, loner, lone wolf? The Muslim killer is always a terrorist. I would say, if you believe the view of Muslims presented by some in the media, we are immune to mental illness. It's kind of cool. Inbuilt immunity. We can't be mentally ill, just the kind of ideologues.
But if you look at the coverage Joy, the coverage of the word terrorism is not used for people who are not Muslim, and that's the problem. We have been conditioned to believe that a terrorist attack is only an attack carried out by a brown dude with a beard shouting something in Arabic.
Of course, statistics show otherwise. The ADL says three-quarters of terrorist deaths in the United States over the past decade were carried out by far right domestic white nationalist terrorists, a quarter by Muslims.
Can we say that the media coverage of terrorism in this country is 75 percent white nationalists, 25 percent Islamic terrorists? In face, Georgia State University did a study. They found that a Muslim terrorist gets four and a half times as much coverage of his crimes as a non-Muslim terrorist. Four and a half times.
REID: Right. Well think about the killer in Las Vegas who gunned down hundreds of people.
HASAN: It's hard to even remember him. He's gone.
REID: No one talks about him.
HASAN: Here's a statistic for you. The Georgia State guys found that a non-Muslim terrorist has to kill, on average, seven people more than a Muslim terrorist to get equal coverage, as a Muslim terrorist. That's a hashtag media fail. And I'm always reminded of that old viral tweet that terrorism is one of the only areas where white people do most of the work and get none of the credit.
It's a problem. You know, and it leads to racism, Islamophobia. It leads to fear on the part of communities of immigrants, you know, that's where the terrorism threat is from brown people, from foreign people, not from the terrorism threat in our midst. Even when you have Dylann Roof shoot nine people, kill nine black people in a church.
REID: And then get a nice meal of burgers and fries.
HASAN: Yes, and doesn't get charged with a terrorism, doesn't get called a terrorist. Alex Fields killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, doesn't get called get doesn't get called a terrorist, doesn't get charged with terrorism. Robert Bowers who killed eleven Jewish worshipers in a synagogue last year, doesn't get charged with terrorism... shooter, “shooter” is the word used in the headline, not terrorist. And look, I have a problem with the whole war on terror discourse to begin with, but let's be consistent.
They went onto discuss the problems Europe is having with immigration and the far right there which have been fueled by the immigration crisis brought on by the violence in Syria and refugees flowing into Europe, Donald Trump's horrific response to the massacre in New Zealand and the fact that he's a symptom of a larger problem as opposed to being the cause of it, and the fact that politicians in New Zealand were quick to act on changing their gun laws, as opposed to what we're dealing with here in the United States.
Watch the whole thing for a refreshing change from the typical treatment these subjects have been receiving from the bulk of our corporate media.